2 Electrical Updates: A Practical One For The Basement & A Bit Of Luxury For The Bath

This would make a great Metamorphosis Monday post, but I’m eager to share how the electrical work I had done yesterday turned out so let’s just dive right on in. It was a good day for getting stuff done! So, remember when the unfinished side of the basement looked like this with insulation visible in the walls between the finished and unfinished side?


When I had the whole house surge protector added, the electrician faced it out into this side since I didn’t want it visible on the finished side of the basement. Do you see it there peeking out from underneath the bottom of the bulletin board I had covering the back of the electrical panel?

Work Bench


At that time, the electrician placed it directly under the electrical panel between the studs.


If he had placed it here on the semi-finished side of the basement (needs flooring to be complete) it would have been visible in the wall directly underneath that big gray panel there on the far wall. I could hang a picture over the fuse panel to hide it, but you never want to cover the surge protector device since it needs to be visible at all times, especially after a big storm passes through or anytime one might suspect a surge occurred. One thing I really like about the electrical company I purchased the surge protector from is if the surge protector ever takes a surge that kills it, they will install a new one for free. Plus, anything connected to it is insured for something like $75,000. I’m glad I have it now since Georgia is one of the worst states for lightning.

Basement Renovation, After Painting, Before Flooring


Now that the unfinished side of the basement has drywall, it was time to install the surge protector in its permanent home. I still wanted it facing out into this storage/workroom space because I’m down here almost every day retrieving something I need, gluing something together on my workbench, or just messing around plotting out my next plans for this space. lol

Utility Room in Basement


My electrician and I were a little concerned about where the surge protector was going to land once installed. Per the electrician, a surge protector has to go directly beneath the electrical box. We were worried it was going to end up being behind the back edge of the workbench. My workbench is exactly where I want it in this space, especially since I recently had a 4-gang outlet installed just to the left of the workbench so I could plug in all the things I use in that area–like battery chargers for tools, a lamp, my weather station, etc… Plus, I like how the cubby organizer that I built a few years back hides a second electrical panel that was installed when I added on the screened porch and had the finished side of the basement completely redone to how it looks today. The opposite wall in this storage room where I currently have shelves is a concrete wall, so not the best option for a workbench and freezer since there are no electrical outlets on that wall.

Updates for unfinished basement


So where did the surge protector end up? Do you see it hiding there behind the weather station?

Surge Protector for House


It just barely cleared the workbench. Whew!

Surge Protector Installation


We were hoping it wouldn’t end up behind it where it would be more difficult to see. Fortunately, it’s fully visible. The electrician called the thing it’s installed inside, a “flush kit.” It definitely looks a lot nicer in its flush kit than it did stuck inside a wall of insulation! So happy that it’s on this side of the basement and still easily visible if I ever need to check it sometime in the future

Whole House Surge Protector in Flush Kit


Since the electrician was already here, I decided to have one more bit of electrical work done yesterday. You may remember recently that I mentioned how much I love the heated toilet seat I have in my master bathroom. It is the best thing ever, especially when getting out of a toasty warm bed in the middle of the night. (Heated seat is available here: Heated Toilet Seat.)


Since the toilet/tub area is in a separate room from the vanity/sink area in the bathroom, the only outlet is here in the vanity area. The outlet is visible in the background of this photo where I shared a set of pretty soap dispensers. So in order to have a heated seat, I had to run an extension cord from that outlet across the back of the vanity and around/through the doorway into the tub/toilet room. That wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing way to get power into that space, but since I have plans to renovate my 40-year-old baths over the next two years, I knew that the extension would be temporary. My plan was to have an outlet added for the heated seat at that time. The wall you see in the photo below may end up being removed during the master bath renovation–not sure yet.

Bath Soap Dispenser, Pretty


But, since I wanted to add yet another item to my bathroom that requires electricity (a towel warmer) I decided to go ahead and have the outlet added now even though it may end up getting moved when the bath renovation occurs. The new outlet is visible there in the corner. I had a nightlight plugged in when I took this photo because the towel warmer had not yet arrived.

New Outlet for Heated Toilet Seat and Towel Warmer


The towel warmer arrived today and I placed it on the other side, alongside the shower/tub. When I’m done showering, I should be able to open the sliding shower door at that end and lift up the lid to retrieve a toasty warm towel. I turned it on today for about 10 minutes just to see how it worked and, Wow! I was so surprised by how hot the towels got in that short amount of time! I think I’m going to love having a towel warmer!

Towel Warmer for Bathroom


I placed 2 full-size towels inside today when I tried it out and there was still enough room left over for another towel. I’m really pleased with how much this particular towel warmer holds. (Towel Warmer is available here: Towel Warmer.)


The brown thing you see on top of the towel warmer lid is a pair of bamboo tongs. When I was shopping for a towel warmer, I read in the reviews that you can use bamboo tongs to retrieve the hot towels if you are concerned about touching the sides which obviously get quite hot. I think that would probably only happen if you were trying to reach a towel on the very bottom, but I still like the idea of the bamboo tongs. If you would like to find out more about the heated seat or the towel warmer I have here in my bath, you’ll find both of those here: Heated Toilet Seat and Towel Warmer. I purchased the bamboo tongs here: Bamboo Tongs.

Towel Warmer for Bathroom


Looking forward to sharing two bathroom renovations with you in the not-too-distant future. I’ll be starting with my son’s old bath first, so it’s time to start planning! If there’s something you think I should consider for those bath renovations, please share any tips you have. I have almost decided to remove the tub in my bathroom so there’s room for a big walk-in shower since I prefer showers over baths. Not totally sure about that just yet, but a contractor I’ve talked with has recommended it. Love to hear all your ideas!

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  1. Putting in grab bars, shower seat and bars and hand held shower heads for. Grab bars by commodes and higher commodes. Safety disability equiptment need not be ugly. I’ve seen pics for colored bars for instance. Non slip tile also. Safety for self and guests is easier to achieve when building and or refurbishing spaces. Wider doors for wheelchair or walker access. Guest baths should be accessible. Disability groups have been advocating for at least o e accessible bath in every new home for decades. Builders resist. Aging societies need to plan these features in. Big renovations allow for accommodations to be made. Just my ideas.
    Floor drains as seen in Asia and Australia is an idea I also love. Easier to throughly clean quickly and throughly. Built in night lights and dimmers on existing lights.
    Put in wiring for heated towel bars on walls. Wall heaters for warmer bath rooms. Ideas.

  2. I’m glad the surge protector got all sorted and in a place where you wanted it Susan. Good idea to go ahead and add the outlet so you can use your new towel warmer and so you didn’t have to run an extension cord for the seat warmer. When you remodel the bathrooms, you can then move them if need be and add more. I am loving your towel warmer, I didn’t know there were those kinds, just knew of the bars. I can imagine how nice it will feel after you shower! Hugs, Brenda

    • Thanks, Brenda! I used it for the first time today after showering and it was awesome pulling that hot towel out to dry off with. Yes! So glad to have the surge protector finally in its permanent home…what an ordeal! lol

  3. We did not include a tub in our master bath remodel and love our big shower!

  4. Ideas: heated floors, bidet seat (see Fluidmaster), adequate seat in shower, glass shower doors, zero entry shower, get quietest fan, light in shower, swivel faucets in sinks, hooks instead of towel bars, outlet by toilet

  5. Robin Lambert says

    You must put in heated floors, if only in your bathroom. You will love them! They keep the room warm, too. My bath didn’t have any vents and it was never cold. I’d go with the walk-in shower, too. Just so there’s a tub somewhere for future owners with children.

  6. Roxanne S Wheeler says

    You should definitely remove the tub and replace it with a shower. You’ll need to add a bench for shaving your legs. I would add some hand rails too.

    • I do like the bench idea a lot. I think I will remove the tub unless a contractor can find a sneaky way to fit a small soaking tub in. I’d much rather have a nice size shower.

  7. I would highly recommend putting in an ADA compliant toilet, higher (taller) than the usual household toilet. If you ever have knee problems, it’s a big help.

  8. One of my favorite features in my master bath is the ceiling fan. Love it and useful all year long here in the south.

  9. Susan, you are like the Energizer Bunny. We are worn out just reading what you have done ! I am so old I remember reading how Jackie Kennedy loved heated towel bars.
    On that show that built homes in record time, I loved the deep tiled shower that you could roll a wheelchair into. If you decide to keep a tub, I wish my garden tub had jets built in. I never use it because it’s like filling a pool.
    Since you will eventually sell, maybe it’s about selling perks. Does the basement have a guest bath so it could become a mother in law suite ?

    • I do keep that in mind a lot since I’m not sure how much longer I’ll decide to live here. No, no bathroom down there but I bet a future family will do that. It would be pretty easy to turn the unfinished section that just got drywall into a bedroom at the end where the windows are in that area…or a downstairs office.

  10. Cindy Barnett says

    I agree with what others have suggested, higher toilet, definitely grab bars, at least one at toilet and one in shower. Skip the tub and get the bigger shower with a larger seat. I personally don’t like glass doors, as we have hard water making them difficult to keep clean. I’d prefer a shower large enough that didn’t require any door – maybe a long rectangle open at one end. Also, if you have room, a lowered section of vanity with a chair for styling hair, makeup, etc. would be great!

  11. Antoinette says

    When my husband and I built our new home, in designing our master bath, we had the builder leave out the bathtub and instead put in a large walk-in shower with a bench and we love it! And we chose frameless shower doors, they look nice and they’re easy to clean!

  12. Hi Susan, I definitely recommend heated floors in both bathrooms. You will never regret it!! Good luck and thank you so much for all your interesting posts!!

  13. When we remodeled to give ourselves a downstairs master suite, the remodeling necessitated removing the full size tub in the downstairs bathroom and making it a half-bath. For the master bath we selected a big walk-in shower. The upstairs bath already had a shower. We really struggled with eliminating a tub in the new master bath but doing the remodel the way we wanted it, left us with no tub. We were concerned about the resale of the house but made the decision to eliminate a tub anyway. When my husband died suddenly and I downsized to a retirement cottage (which has only a shower) and put our home on the market, I was very concerned that our house would be difficult to sell with no tub. It sold w/o advertising it! The current owners have a 2 year old and a brand new baby so perhaps they have remodeled to include a tub! I do think it is a plus to have a tub somewhere but not necessarily in the master bath. In the retirement cottage, I had the contractor install attractive handicapped grab bars; they were even mounted on small “blocks” so they extend from the wall. I use them as towel bars and you can’t tell they are handicapped bars just by looking at them. Definitely purchase a tall handicapped stool; so much more comfortable and easy to use. I believe there are stools that have different flushes – one when you do #1 and a stronger flush for #2 – that will save on water usage! If you have the room, I recommend heated towel bars; after a shower, the bars are right there, the towels are warm and your bathroom has a little extra warmth in it too. I hope these aren’t too many suggestions!

  14. We’re downsizing and plan to have a roll in shower for future problems with my husband…no door of course.

  15. Beth Freeby says

    I’ve seen all sorts of bathroom color on the site Our Old House on Facebook!
    Anytime I’ve done a bathroom, (we’ve built several homes in the past) I chose black and white for fixtures and floor tile. It NEVER goes out of style! There are some really wonderful floor and shower floor patterns available! I love the basketweave one! You can add color with towels and wall color, much easier to change. Many of the cream and tans start to look dingy in just a few years.

  16. Susan, I agree with Frances. Building in accommodations for elderly or disabled people is smart. It raises the value of your home. As we age we need a home that serves us through all the stages of our lives. And, you never know what might happen. We built our retirement home with many ADA features for aging in place and then I developed a progressive serious illness. Suddenly those features for the future made my current situation so much easier and will allow me to stay in my home. Here are some ideas for your baths to consider from a reader who uses them daily. Raised height toilets are easier for older people to use as well as the disabled. For children and petite people without long legs who find the new toilet causes their feet to dangle, buy an inexpensive “squatty potty” a movable plastic piece that fits around your toilet front on the floor so you may rest your feet on it. This also puts your body in the healthiest position. Our bodies systems slow down and become inefficient as we age. You won’t believe the difference it makes. Grab bars in the toilet and wet areas are essential. Think about placing one outside the shower and tub to hold as you step out. Avoid different floor heights which are a trip hazard. Lower the floor threshold from shower to bath and at bath entry. Grab bars come in many styles and can be beautiful, like jewelry matching your faucets and other hardware. Be sure you build a seat into your larger shower and use a removable shower head with on/off switch for water on the shower wand for use when sitting to shower. In my opinion you will be fine converting to a larger shower only as long as you build in a seat and flexible shower height. If it’s possible, put in a sufficiently deep long shelf on the wall for shower supplies. Most builder showers have a short shallow storage shelf if any. You have the opportunity to make your shower work well for all situations so locate that shelf reachable from the shower seat or save room on the seat for supplies. I agree with keeping the tub/ shower in your guest bath. I would eliminate the shower curtain with extra sturdy sliding glass doors. To me those really open up a guest bath, making it look more spacious. A towel bar on the exterior glass door is useful. I keep a squeegee and daily shower cleaner in our shower and spray the walls and glass door after every shower wiping down the walls to maintain a clean, mildew free tile shower. Widen door ways to at least 32” or 36” if possible. I wouldn’t put my toilet in a separate room. If privacy is a concern, consider building a “false wall”, one whose bottom sits on top of your flooring in case it must ever be removed for a wheelchair bound patient to have room to transfer sideways onto the toilet. So don’t skimp on space around the toilet, something many rehabbers do. Because it sits on top of your floors, the false wall is easy to remove without having to match floor tile. Keep plenty of extra floor tiles for replacing cracks, breaks that develop over time. I would keep at least one box, depending on the size of the bathroom. Allow plenty of room around the toilet for floor mounted grab bars beside the toilet in case they’re needed for balance as you sit down and stand up. Sometimes a single grab bar isn’t sufficient. Non slip floors throughout the bath and shower are smart to do. For some luxury, consider either installing heated tile floors or wire for them. Stepping barefoot onto cold tile at any time of year is unpleasant and hasty steps to avoid cold feet cause falls. Non slip warm tiles would possibly limit the use of bath rugs, another trip hazard. Consider keeping one part of your vanity at a lower height, without a sink for pulling a chair up with drawers and outlets near for makeup, a closeup standing mirror, drying and styling hair, using electric toothbrush. My standing mirror has an outlet in the base, making my sitting area efficient.A second sink can be beside it at standing height. We did this in our master bath and it’s wonderful for me to not have to stand to perform basic grooming tasks when fatigue suddenly hits me. This will depend on the length of vanity space available. You would be surprised how efficient it is to have the vanity in an L shape along two walls. My lower area is diagonal to the wall corner with my husband’s raised height sink area on the shorter wall and a sink and longer counter at normal height before my sit down vanity. I wish I could send you a picture of ours. If you consider this, feel free to contact me for a picture drawing and measurements. Be sure you install more outlets on your vanity area than you think you will need and allow for placement of hand towel holders so hand towels don’t cover electric outlets. Extra outlets can also be installed on ends of vanity cabinets to save space on your vanity top. I agree that the toilet area needs an outlet for a heated seat or bidet. Include plenty of space for medical and general supply storage and towels, rugs. Bathroom lights should be plentiful and bright like daylight because our vision worsens as we age. Put a waterproof light in your shower. Our master bath had no window due to the vanity configuration so we installed a tube style skylight fixture installed from our roof into the bath with a cover if the sun becomes too bright. We’ve never used the sliding cover. Older skylights were prone to leaks but properly installed round new tube ones are fine. Ours is 12 years old with no leaks. Of course we have our roof inspection done periodically to prevent leaks at flashing and any roof openings. Our skylight makes such a difference with natural light. Of course it depends on the location of the bath relative to your roof. I recommend using daylight LED bulbs in bathroom fixtures, avoiding the blue tinged LEDs. I’m sure there are other ideas we didn’t use in our bathrooms. And if you ever renovate that beautiful kitchen of yours, or your master closet I have a lot of suggestions to make your home an age in place home.
    Gosh, Susan your home is incredibly spacious and flexible with huge storage and gorgeous timeless decor and curb appeal. You even have the ability to convert space to a downstairs master bedroom and office area when you get tired of climbing stairs. You’re making smart renovations and updates to your home that continually keep it fresh, more efficient without sacrificing quality or beauty. You recently mentioned moving to be closer to your son and his family in Ohio. As a grandmother I understand. Our granddaughters live 10- 12 hours away by car. It’s a challenge trying to stay involved in their lives. I’m just not sure you could ever find a home with your amount of flexibility and storage for all your seasonal decor and table scapes! Downsizing would be a necessary trade off but worth it to be closer to family when you’re older and need family nearby. Meanwhile, this BNOTP reader and many others hope you stay put for a while. We enjoy your fun energy and practical, lovely solutions to your changing needs.

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